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What to do with the (temporary) heroes?

June 29, 2014

A few days ago, a few questions were posed for all concerned in the issues of eastern Ukraine:

“Questions now for The Kremlin is what to do with the most extreme swivel-eyed Russian nationalists who are expecting the collection of more “Russian lands” and the ideological consolidation of the “Russian World”, when the Kremlin definition of Russian nationalism is unbending and unquestioned support for The State regardless of its decisions? How to deescalate such people without them feeling betrayed and/or used when The Donbas and Luhansk remain part of Ukraine and they return to Russia? These two very different versions of Russian nationalism will need to be reconciled somehow if The Kremlin wants to be sure such people do not turn their attention toward it.”

Perhaps the answers to that are now about to become clear.

The “Novorussia” Ideologue-in-Chief sacked from his role as Professor of Sociology at Moscow State University.

Somewhat earlier than expected perhaps – but ultimately expected nonetheless, when Professor Dugin’s nationalist ideology is certainly not the State nationalism as desired or interpreted by The Kremlin per the quote above.  Professor Dugin claiming directly that his removal from his post being directly linked to his support for Novoriussia.

Anybody who has read Professor Dugin’s “Fourth Political Theory” may possibly consider his removal apt reward for having wasted hours of their life in reading it.

Anyway, in removing Professor Dugin, does this perhaps infer a Kremlin move to dampen/fade out the “Novorussia” ideology across the Russian MSM?  If so, how to combat the army of followers that People like Professor Dugin have on the social media networks and prevent the continued publication of far right nationalist printed material that Professor Dugin has been involved with since early 1990?

How to make him fade away if that is now the Kremlin course?  Having used the Russian nationalists for Kremlin ends, how to put the gene – particularly the well known leaders of such an ideology back into the bottle?

By logical extension, the same question arises with regard to what to do with other Russian citizens raised to “hero” status by the Russian media during the on-going conflict in eastern Ukraine.

What to do with Igor Girkin/Strelkov, Igor Bezler or Alexander Borodai, to name but a few Russian citizens that have self-declared themselves into prominence in eastern Ukraine, ably supported and projected to “hero” status by the Russian media?

Decisions within The Kremlin need be made swiftly this weekend as it seems clear neither the USA, the EU and its Member States, nor President Poroshenko, are likely to hold off on action over eastern Ukraine with effect from Monday 30th.

If The Kremlin decision is to secure its borders to stop the flow of fighters and weaponry entering Ukraine to avoid further sanctions, it does so knowing that the fighting paramilitary elements in Ukraine will not last long.  Some will die there, others will be captured and jailed, and yet more will make it back to Russia having fought on for a while longer before eventually leaving.

 

If they are not killed or captured in Ukraine over the coming weeks, when they return to Russia, they will return as (temporarily) high profile nationalist heroes – unless they are swiftly recast by the Russian media into far lesser beings prior to their return in an effort to dull their attractiveness to those at the extremes.

Perhaps they will not return.  Perhaps The Kremlin may decide it better they do not return.  The return of well known nationalist leaders, popular enough to challenge The Kremlin narrative and definition of “nationalism” as well as the official approved version of events in eastern Ukraine may be quite problematic.

Those returning will be well armed.  Some will not be mercenaries or criminals fighting for money.  Some will be genuine, extreme, nationalists who will eventually realise they have been used by The Kremlin in eastern Ukraine.  Should they return and have well known leaders from the same fight to rally around, this clearly creates a problem for The Kremlin.

What to do when the Kremlin doesn’t need these heroes any more – or their very different nationalist ideology to the one that is desired?

Few will notice any sweeping up of the “troops” when they return to Russia – but what is the best solution regarding these high profile Russian citizens for The Kremlin?

Buy their silence and/or obedience?  Jail them for one reason or another to take them out of circulation?  Insure they do not return, nipping a potential problem in the bud on Ukrainian soil?  Allow their return but cut them off from MSM coverage and propel them back to the fringes of social media from whence they came – hoping that the cannot rally the like-minded around them?  Can they be effectively and efficiently “mothballed” pending other such adventures in Ukraine or elsewhere?

Is the removal of Professor Dugin from his post the beginning of a shift away – publicly at least – from the concept of Novorussia by The Kremlin?  Do Messrs Girkin/Strelkov,  Bezler and Alexander Borodai need to take heed?

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